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Panzanella Salad

With an abundance of tomatoes and a habit of keeping stale bread in the fridge, I often find myself preparing this classic Italian dish - Panzanella. A delightful Tuscan and Umbrian chopped salad featuring soaked stale bread, onions, and tomatoes, perfect for savoring during the summer.

For this recipe, I'm using locally grown tomatoes and cherry tomatoes, but you can get creative and add cucumbers for a traditional twist. Cucumbers have been a staple ingredient in Panzanella for generations.

The roots of Panzanella can be traced back to the 16th century, when the artist and poet Bronzino praised onions with oil and vinegar served with toast, and later described a salad combining onions, purslane, and cucumbers - believed to be the early form of Panzanella. The name itself is a fusion of "pane," Italian for bread, and "zanella," representing the deep plate in which it is served.

Residing in a hot and humid country, I often struggle with wilted herbs like parsley, basil, or scallions. To combat this, I came up with a brilliant solution - a simple pesto using these herbs. I hope you'll give both the Panzanella and herb pesto a try, embracing the vibrant flavors of summer. Enjoy the delectable journey of tastes and textures!



(Serve 8)

  • Simple Pesto:

  • Parsley, Large Handful

  • Basil, Large Handful

  • Scallions, 3 Bunches'

  • Garlic, 1 Clove

  • High Quality Olive Oil, For Drizzling

  • Sea Salt, Pinch

  • Black Pepper, Pinch

  • Salad:

  • Tomatoes Wedged, 1 kg I'm using a combination of tomatoes and cherry tomatoes. Or you can use a combination of tomatoes and cucumbers.

  • Sea Salt, Pinch

  • Stale Bread Coarsely Diced, 225g

  • High Quality Olive Oil, For Drizzling

  • Black Pepper, Pinch

  • Italian Seaonings, Pinch

  • Red Onion Finely Diced, 1

  • Garlic Finely Minced, 3 Cloves

  • Red Wine Vinegar, 1 TBSP



  • Oven

  • Large Salad Bowl

  • Food Processor



  1. Prepare the simple pesto.

  2. Add the herbs and garlic to a food processor.

  3. Add just enuff of olive oil to get it going.

  4. Give it a few pulses until the herbs and garlic are broken down into fine pieces.

  5. Transfer to a container.

  6. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

  7. Mix until well combined.

  8. Lastly, add a few drizzles of olive oil over the top.

  9. This will keep in the fridge for at least 2 weeks or frozen, for 3 months.

  10. Prepare the salad.

  11. Preheat oven to 190 degree celsius or 375 fahrenheit.

  12. Season the tomatoes generously with sea salt.

  13. Transfer the tomatoes onto a strainer or colander over a bowl and set it aside.

  14. Next, soak the stale bread with water and transfer it to a baking tray lined with parchment paper.

  15. Wack to the oven and bake for 12 to 15 mins or until the bread is soft and crispy.

  16. Remove from the oven.

  17. Season with salt, pepper and Italian seasonings.

  18. Drizzle some olive oil over the top.

  19. Toss to combine well and set it aside until ready to use.

  20. Add some warm water and salt to a small bowl.

  21. Mix until well combined.

  22. Add in the onion and give it a stir to combine well.

  23. Set aside until ready to use.

  24. At this point, the tomatoes should release some moisture. Reserve the liquid.

  25. Transfer the tomatoes and bread to a large salad bowl.

  26. Drain the onions and transfer them to the tomato liquid.

  27. Add in garlic, 2 TBSP of olive oil and red wine vinegar.

  28. Season with and pepper.

  29. Mix until well combined.

  30. Transfer this onion mixture to the salad bowl.

  31. Add in a few TBSP of that simple pesto.

  32. Toss until well combined.

  33. Final taste and adjust for seasonings with salt, olive oil or red wine vinegar.

  34. Serve immediately.

Mama Mia...


Recipe Video:

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